Oct. 1, 1959 – May 25, 2022  

Few people live with the fervor that Dianne Passen did. She laughed loud, actualized dreams, built companies and was the most trusted confidant for countless friends and family. Her sincere desire to spread joy was a gift to all who were lucky enough to know her. She had the rare talent of making a person feel exceptional and her advice was from the heart.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1959, to parents Ronald and Mary Ann Downey, she was the second of five children. A best friend to her siblings Eileen, Mary, Peggy and Tom, Dianne shared an adventurous, happy childhood in South Bend, Ind. The family spent a year in Cambridge, England, then moved to the quaint little town of Athens, Ohio. She graduated Athens High School in 1977 and attended Miami University in Ohio. Her college summers were spent working, playing and building lifelong friendships on the shores of Lake Erie at Cedar Point.

After graduating with a B.S. in business in 1981, Dianne headed west on a venturous road trip with two great friends. She landed in Seattle where she joined Adia International and was quickly promoted to the corporate headquarters located in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was then invited to join an emerging startup named Accountants Inc., where she became instrumental in growing the company nationally. She loved the company and the company loved her.

In California, she met the man she would build a loving home with, Marc Passen. They met at an unforgettable rugby party thrown by her sister Peggy and brother-in-law Louis. They were married in San Francisco on July 29, 1989, by the dignitary and family friend Mayor Art Agnos. Their time together was an example to us all of love, devotion and joy.

Dianne became a mother in 1990 to Natalie, and three years later to Teresa. Dianne loved her family deeply. She envisioned a house overlooking the ocean, and, through sheer force of will, brought that into reality. Her daughters grew up in a home that could only be described as paradise — happy hearts and sunsets over the water.

Peggy, Dianne’s youngest sister, also left us too early — a huge blow to the whole family. Dianne, always a champion through adversity, made sure that Peggy’s daughter, Kelsey, was surrounded by the love of the whole family as a daughter to her and a sister to Natalie and Teresa.

Dianne threw parties and family gatherings that no one wanted to leave. She took trips everyone wanted to take. She frequently took the path less traveled, never accepting the mundane, always challenging herself and others, from home exchanges in China to running marathons in the midst of cancer treatments. As a natural creative talent, Dianne excelled in video marketing work and built her own media business that served the HMB coastal community for over 15 years.

In 2019 she became a grandmother to Olivia Rey Sollom, the new center of her world. As with all roles, Dianne was a remarkable grandmother.

She fell in love with running and hiking, especially exploring the rugged California coastal trails. She was a music enthusiast. She crafted poems and one-of-a-kind scrapbooks for her friends and loved ones. She studied animation. She volunteered. She gave all of herself to every endeavor. She carved a path in the business world for others and at a time when women rarely held leadership positions.

It is an impossible task to list all of Dianne’s accomplishments, talents, joys and quirks. She was a unique soul and a force to be reckoned with. An exceptional writer, born leader, generous friend, hilarious speaker, motivator, mother, grandmother, wife, sister, aunt and an extraordinary person. A truly beautiful life.

Celebration of Life details will be announced. If you’d like to walk in Dianne’s shoes today, put on a Cat Stevens record and have a glass of chardonnay. Throw your fears out the window, laugh big and, above all, hold your loved ones close.

(1) entry


Dianne was a true force of nature and a wonderfully happy person in ever exchange we ever had. I truly enjoyed every moment with her and feel blessed to have had her in my life. She will be deeply missed.

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